Catalina Sandino Moreno

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A Most Violent Year Review


Extraordinary

With this confident drama, J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, All Is Lost) continues to evolve as a filmmaker, giving the mob movie a remarkably thoughtful twist with vivid characters and situations. This film holds us in a vice-grip, cleverly squeezing in on the characters and the audience with both emotional and moral dilemmas. And Oscar Isaac delivers yet another superbly textured performance, this time as a man trying desperately to remain outside the criminal world.

The title refers to 1981, when the crime rate in New York was at an all-time high. Abel (Isaac) has built his heating-oil company into a real contender, but has refused to indulge in the dodgy dealings of his competitors. Which has been difficult since he's married to Anna (Jessica Chastain), daughter of a notorious gangster. Then just as Abel takes out a loan to expand his business even further, he's hit by an indictment from the DA (David Oyelowo), which jeopardises the bank's loyalty. Meanwhile, his rivals' goons are hijacking his tanker-trucks and threatening his family. Although his chief competitor (Alessandro Nivola) denies this. And as things squeeze in on Abel and his lawyer (Albert Brooks), Anna urges them to take illegal action to get things back on track. After all, that's how business works in 1981 New York.

Isaac is utterly magnetic as Abel, a man who rejects the corruption and violence everyone else accepts as part of life. His interaction with an especially feisty Chastain is steely and riveting, as is his relationship with his young protege Julian (Elyes Gabel), a terrified hijacked driver whose storyline takes some surprising turns, some of which are a little obvious. All of the acting in the film is contained and bristling with emotion, giving the characters remarkable layers of texture that make them unusually believable and often startlingly easy to identify with.

Continue reading: A Most Violent Year Review

Magic Magic Trailer


Alicia is about to set out on her first trip outside of the US alongside her cousin Sarah and several of Sarah's friends. They embark on a long vacation to Chile where they set themselves up in an isolated house off the coast. However, when Sarah is forced to set off back home just a short time into the holiday, a nervous Alicia finds herself feeling completely alone with unfamiliar people. As one member of the party, Brink, begins to develop an obsessive interest in her, she starts to feel uneasy and increasingly unable to sleep. She discovers that Brink is not only fixated on her, but he also seems to completely lack human compassion and frequently shows a cruel side that Alicia is usually on the end of. Feeling ignored and ostracised by the rest of the disbelieving group, she starts to feel her mental stability going downhill and is desperate to go home before something terrible happens to her.

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Premiere of FX's 'The Bridge'

Catalina Sandino Moreno - Premiere of FX's 'The Bridge' at DGA Theater - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 8th July 2013

Catalina Sandino Moreno
Catalina Sandino Moreno
Catalina Sandino Moreno
Catalina Sandino Moreno

Premiere of FX's 'The Bridge'

Catalina Sandino Moreno - Premiere of FX's 'The Bridge' at DGA Theater - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 9th July 2013

Catalina Sandino Moreno
Catalina Sandino Moreno
Catalina Sandino Moreno
Catalina Sandino Moreno
Catalina Sandino Moreno

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Trailer


Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner once again take up their much loves roles for the latest instalment in the Twilight series. Eclipse is the third part to the saga and the script stays loyal to Stephenie Meyer's book of the same name.

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Che Review


Weak
Benicio Del Toro dons the insurrectionist garb and machetes his way through jungles and mud as the revolutionary icon Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's massive biographical homage. Del Toro pulls out all the stops in portraying the revolutionary icon and, if anything, Che is a tribute to Del Toro's perseverance. But Soderbergh's version of Che is too good to be true: Movie Che is a towering idealist who just keeps on coming, but he lacks any sense of character. He is heartless, all computer chips and wires inside. He's the Revolutionator.

Soderbergh's relentlessly uncommercial enterprise logs in at 268 minutes and is split into two parts. Part One charts Che's involvement with Fidel Castro in overthrowing Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, concentrating on the popular grassroots campaign that began with 80 peasants. Part Two jumps to Guevara's final revolutionary sprint, the failed uprising in Bolivia, the antithesis of the Cuban campaign, where the Bolivian peasants abandon him and betray him to the Bolivian army. Che is then hunted down like a junkyard dog and murdered.

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The Hottest State Review


Grim
The film version of Ethan Hawke's The Hottest State, which he adapted from his own novel of the same name, represents a strange form of time-travel. In it, the young actor Mark Webber embodies the kind of character -- self-conscious, scruffy, chatty, and able to make self-deprecation seem downright pretentious -- that Hawke himself grew out of playing about 10 years ago. Webber even sounds a bit like Hawke in his voiceover narration; it's like a low-tech version of motion capture, allowing Hawke to virtually direct his ten-years-younger self.

Perhaps not coincidentally, a decade back is about when the novel version of The Hottest State came out. Webber/Hawke's William is an aspiring actor, apparently, though if this aspect of the character is autobiographical, Hawke left out any details that explain how exactly he got through any auditions without clever asides or other low-key hipster gestures. William is the type of guy who talks about acting almost exclusively in terms of personal metaphors about pretending and deception, despite never appearing to act like anyone but his own insecure, talkative self. While I don't doubt that some young actors behave this way, I have a little more trouble believing they'd somehow get flown down to Mexico to star in an Alfonso Cuarón movie (the name of the fictional film's director is never mentioned, but it's briefly visible on a clapboard, just long enough to register vague disbelief, even if it is just an autobiographical in-joke -- the real-life Hawke appeared in Cuarón's version of Great Expectations).

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Paris, Je T'aime Review


OK
One would like to think that there at least a few other cities in the world besides Paris that could have inspired a film as varied in the types of cinematic pleasure so ably delivered by the anthology piece Paris Je T'Aime -- but it seems unlikely. This isn't due to an unavailability of good stories or locations in many other great metropolises, but more because being able to dangle the possibility of shooting in Paris in front of the world's greatest directors is going to be so much more enticing. Also, there are few other cities besides Paris that come with such a powerful and multifarious wealth of preassociated images and emotions for both filmmaker and audience to both draw upon and react against. So what could have been a collection of short films with a few highs, several lows, and a lot of muddled in-betweens is in fact a remarkably and consistently imaginative body of work, practically giddy with energy, that only rarely touches the ground.

Project overseers Emmanuel Benbihy and Tristan Carné wanted to create a cinematic map of Paris, with each short film representing one of the city's 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods). They ended up with 18 films, none of them more than a few minutes long and directed by a glittering, international roster of filmmakers. While none of the films here are anything approaching masterpieces, hardly a one is in any way a chore to sit through, which has to be some sort of an accomplishment.

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Journey to the End of the Night Review


Weak
Despite the killer title (Journey to the End of the Night is the name of a nihilistic Celine book that has nothing to do with this film), this Brendan Fraser sex-and-drugs drama can't live up to its manufactured cool. The complicated relationships have Fraser as the scheming son of a brothel owner (Scott Glenn), who's trying to get out of the Sao Paolo slums via a big drug deal. Unfortunately we never much care for either Glenn or Fraser's characters, leaving the film in the hands of Mos Def, a dishwasher pressed into helping out. Most of the film is shot in the dark, it seems, in keeping with the coal-black mood of the entire affair.

Fast Food Nation Review


Good
A few weeks ago, it was announced by McDonald's that it would be making an unprecedented push towards "class." Amongst other things, it will be installing wireless internet in a large amount of its restaurants and changing décor into a mellow, art-friendly utopia for college students. Basically, it's tired of Starbucks being the only double-edged sword in the drawer. Sounds nice, but these aesthetic changes won't matter much in the face of the horrors depicted in Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation.

Adapted from the inadaptable investigative best-seller by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation sets a whirlwind of brouhaha in a small Colorado town. The town in question, Cody, doesn't really exist but neither does the fast food chain that started there, Mickey's (God that sounds familiar). Mickey's flagship meal is The Big One, an extra-large patty processed and shipped at a local meatpacking plant that employs illegal aliens like young couple Sylvia (the excellent Catalina Sandino Moreno) and Raul (a shockingly restrained Wilmer Valderrama). The Big One was thought up by Mickey's marketing whiz-kid Don Henderson (Greg Kinnear), who has been sent to Cody to investigate a high amount of fecal matter being found in the product that made him a success.

Continue reading: Fast Food Nation Review

Fast Food Nation Review


Good
A few weeks ago, it was announced by McDonald's that it would be making an unprecedented push towards "class." Amongst other things, it will be installing wireless internet in a large amount of its restaurants and changing décor into a mellow, art-friendly utopia for college students. Basically, it's tired of Starbucks being the only double-edged sword in the drawer. Sounds nice, but these aesthetic changes won't matter much in the face of the horrors depicted in Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation.

Adapted from the inadaptable investigative best-seller by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation sets a whirlwind of brouhaha in a small Colorado town. The town in question, Cody, doesn't really exist but neither does the fast food chain that started there, Mickey's (God that sounds familiar). Mickey's flagship meal is The Big One, an extra-large patty processed and shipped at a local meatpacking plant that employs illegal aliens like young couple Sylvia (the excellent Catalina Sandino Moreno) and Raul (a shockingly restrained Wilmer Valderrama). The Big One was thought up by Mickey's marketing whiz-kid Don Henderson (Greg Kinnear), who has been sent to Cody to investigate a high amount of fecal matter being found in the product that made him a success.

Continue reading: Fast Food Nation Review

Maria Full of Grace Review


Extraordinary
If I've ever seen a movie that better produced riveting drama on a low budget with no exaggeration of character or CGI effects, I can't remember it. This is a story whose fascination level rises with each new danger that a desperate young girl faces, and you may come out of it thinking you've experienced some of her agony.

Maria Alvarez (Catalina Sandino Moreno) is a 17-year old in rural Colombia and the breadwinner for her family, a situation that becomes more than she can bear when she realizes she is pregnant. When her condition causes her to leave her job's production line one too many times, her boss fires her. Boyfriend Juan (Wilson Guerrero) is little comfort and she rejects his proposal to marry out of need or obligation.

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Catalina Sandino Moreno

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